Dear Concerned Citizen,

At first, it was but three pages.

Then, it grew to 42.

When it was voted on last night, the bill was the size of a novel.

A 451-page novel they most likely did not read before completing the first of three steps into making it law.

Packed with "sweeteners"–the deceptive name for political bribes—the bill passed with ease.  Sweeteners like more regulations on insurance companies, setting up a "Wool Trust Fund"…and even relief for the manufacturers of wooden arrows.

"Other goodies intended to attract the votes of individual members of Congress include $192 million for the rum producers of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, $128 million for car racing tracks, $33 million for corporations operating in American Samoa, and $10 million for small film and television productions," says ABC's Jake Tapper.

I recently attempted to explain to my graduate finance students exactly what happened to companies like Lehman and AIG. I realized that the explanation was so complex that even my students were having difficulty understanding the ins and outs of the problem as well as the implications of a potential bailout. I am going to attempt to explain this as simply as possible.

Have you been watching, reading or talking about the news lately?

Everyone's talking about the Federal Government's takeover of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but no one's talk about what it means.

It's Government, Incorporated.  (I'll call it "GINC" for short).

First, a discussion of the mechanics of what happened to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG.  My principal source for this information is today's front page articles in the Wall Street Journal.  This is a bit long, but bear with me.

Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) president Sean Parnell will testify to the New Jersey General Assembly's State Government Committee this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. concerning "The 2009 New Jersey Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Project Act," set to be introduced today.

Parnell's testimony will educate the committee on the results of New Jersey's most recent attempt at taxpayer-financed political campaigns as well as the impact that taxpayer-financed campaigns have had in other states.

I used to think [the Libertarian Party was] just a bunch of crazy, gun toting, out-of-touch intellectuals. After meeting them, I now know how wrong I was. - Howard Kupferman

The following was posted on May 30, 2008 on a blog at It's the story of a long-time Democrat who found a home in the LP.

Although I believe that taxation is theft, I would gladly support any tax reform plan as long as it substantially lowered tax rates or the total amount of taxes collected. I am not a critic of the FairTax because it doesn't do enough; I am a critic of the FairTax because it cannot be considered an incremental step toward lower tax rates or lower overall taxes. It is not even a step in the right direction. The FairTax is a cure worse than our diseased income tax system.

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The following is an excerpt from Glenn Greenwald’s new book, Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. The excerpt is drawn from Chapter Five entitled "Small-Government Tyrants":

Ever since Ronald Reagan famously declared in his 1980 inaugural address that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem," Republicans have masqueraded as the party of limited government. Its leaders reflexively pledge to keep government off the backs of regular, hardworking Americans. Homage is paid to the wisdom and insight of the American people, which, Republicans endlessly insist, is far superior to the judgment of government officials. 

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